IN a comeback to rival that of Take That and Duran Duran, Empingham returned to winning ways with a victory at Ashby Carrington to keep them hot on the heels of top-of-the-table Tilton.
Batting first, Empingham got off to a stout start, thanks in the main to Mark Coburn who hit an impressive 49.
At the other end however, wickets tumbled due to impatient batting against tempting balls. Once Coburn perished agonizingly short of his half century, Empingham appeared to be in a dangerous position at 85 for 5. But Matt Osman steadied the ship with a solid 24 and Adam Ireland (13no) and Olly Elson (17no) saw Empingham through to 172 for 8; a strong score on a moist wicket.
Empingham took to the field full of vigour and panache, determined to win the game in time to watch England’s Euro2102 clash with Italy. They gave away just a meagre 26 runs in the first 20 overs with opening bowlers Dave McKevitt and Olly Elson brilliantly supported by the Empingham fielders.
Mckevitt (10-4-11-2) bowled with pace and persistent accuracy to pick up two wickets - the first helped by a full-stretch catch by captain Tom Cooper.
Elson (10-6-7-0) meanwhile used flight, guile and genuine turn to tie the opposition in knots.
Needing to hit big, Ashby came out swinging and spin twins Dan O’Kane and Matt Osman benefited, picking up 3 and 4 wickets respectively.
With one wicket remaining, to finish the game, a young boy aged ten strolled to the crease, hoping to score his first runs in senior cricket. His enthusiasm was soon snatched away by Matt Denny, who steamed in and sent his middle stump cartwheeling out the ground.
With all other games called off in the division, the 19 points were a great boost to Empingham’s promotion push.
l EMPINGHAM’s race night takes place on Saturday, July 7 at 8pm. Tickets are available for £2.50 from Matt Denny on 07917 708533.